SUMMER AT THE SHORE LEAVE CAFE - Abbie Williams
Landon, Minnesota - 2003
Joelle Gordon walked in on her lawyer husband, Jack, having sex with a colleague at the Chicago office's Christmas party. Pregnant and married shortly after graduating high school, she thought him the love of her life. His cheating destroys her self-confidence, so she takes their three daughters and escapes to her family's place, the Shore Leave Cafe. Hers is a family of women. Her grandmothers had lived and worked together at the café; now her mother and aunt do. Joelle's widowed sister lives and works there, too. It is a safe haven to lick her wounds and think about her future, until Jack calls demanding a divorce to marry his lover. Maybe it's the lack of sex or her situation, but Joelle is immensely attracted to the handsome Blythe Tilson who works in the cafe's kitchen. He is twelve years younger than she is.
Jilly, Joelle's sister, tells her Blythe is the son of Christy, who was Rich Mayes's stepdaughter. Rich has been a father figure in the sisters' lives forever, and now he has extended sanctuary to Blythe, who had been in jail for stealing a car.
Understandably bitter about her husband's behavior, Joelle still tries not to engage in a summer fling with the so-much-younger hired help, especially within her daughters' notice. Yet the situation constantly changes and brings many unwelcome surprises to try not only Joelle's confidence, but also her will power and her ability to protect her children.
Surrounded by her female-based family and their oft-given advice and concern, Joelle questions her past and searches for insight. Joelle's first person in-your-face narrative, the many interesting characters of both family and small village, the successful summer tourist lakeside cafe setting, and a convoluted plot make this an amusing and riveting read. Balanced between her intense attraction to Blythe, who returns her lust and liking, and her changing relationship with her soon-to-be ex, Joelle reluctantly examines her life. All readers will empathize with her situation and enjoy her journey. However, the ending is a bit abrupt and leaves Joelle's situation unresolved. While the reader knows she has made a decision to resolve her impasse, it does leave everything up in the air, so I'm assuming there is a second volume to follow.
According to their website, Everheart Books is an imprint of Central Avenue Publishing releasing works in digital editions.